When we are sick, inflammatory cells are essential to help us defend ourselves from infections, and other conditions. But, if inflammation is too high, or persists, then it can lead to other diseases.
Inflammation is a cause of many diseases, such as cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. Inflammation will also make these diseases progress and make us feel worse. So it’s crucial that we detect inflammation so that we can quickly adopt measures to lower it and help us prevent serious illnesses.
The best way to detect inflammation caused by disease is to have several inflammatory markers tested with a simple blood test.
Inflammatory marker testing can be used for diagnosis, monitoring, and screening of medical conditions. Inflammatory markers shouldn’t be the only tests to help detect and treat diseases, but they are a very important part of a comprehensive preventative strategy.
Conditions for which inflammatory markers are recommended are polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR), giant cell arteritis, and myeloma. High levels of inflammatory markers may be found in many other conditions, such as infections, and autoimmune conditions.
Inflammatory tests you need
C-reactive protein (CRP)
Systematic reviews have assessed the utility of C-reactive protein (CRP) in diagnosing several cancers in adults. CRP is linked with a number of cancers and is a powerful tool for determining prognosis and survival. Apparently healthy individuals who have elevated levels of CRP have an increased future risk of cancer. Epidemiologic studies suggest that in patients with several types of solid cancers, elevated circulating levels of CRP are linked with poor prognosis.
Primary care studies have also shown that CRP testing for diagnosis of lower respiratory tract infections can reduce antibiotic prescribing, so this helps prevent unnecessary antibiotic use.
Even modestly elevated baseline concentrations of CRP are linked with the long-term risk of coronary heart disease.
Fibrinogen has a proinflammatory role in vascular wall disease. Fibrinogen increases with inflammation, and during an inflammatory reaction fibrinogen can increase 2-3 fold. This will significantly increase blood viscosity and cause vascular pathologies.
Fibrinogen also participates in activation of vascular cells and regulates the inflammatory response via binding to and activating a number of immune cells.
Elevated plasma fibrinogen levels are induced by an inflammatory reaction to tumor growth, a hypercoagulable state in cancer patients, and are linked with tumor progression and poor prognosis in several types of cancer. Fibrinogen regulates cellular adhesion, proliferation, and migration of cancer cells.
IL-6 has a pathological effect on chronic inflammation. IL-6 is synthesized in the initial stage of inflammation, moves to the liver through the bloodstream, and causes rapid induction of acute phase proteins such as CRP, and fibrinogen. IL-6 also induces excess production of VEGF, which causes the growth of new blood vessels that feed tumors.
Dysregulated continual production of IL-6 causes various diseases. Il-6 has cancer growth-promoting activity, and lung cancer patients have higher IL-6 levels than those without this cancer. IL-6 can also be significantly upregulated in ER-positive breast cancers, and is a growth factor for myeloma cells.
Be sure to have your levels of these inflammatory markers tested, especially if there’s a family history of cancer or heart disease. They can provide you with early detection of diseases you might have, and potentially better treatment results.